Labour MP for Redcar, Anna Turley, says Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Committee report into the UK steel crisis proves ‘the government were asleep at the wheel’.
The report, published today, says the Government was not alert enough to the warning bells sounded by the UK steel industry.
The BIS Committee found that Whitehall did not have effective warning systems in place to detect and address mounting problems in the industry. They also found that a lack of action at EU level, and a failure by UK Governments to push for EU action, helped leave the UK heavily exposed to Chinese dumping.
In relation to the closure of the SSI plant at Redcar, the report finds the Government’s initial response focused on compensating those affected rather than seeing what could be done to save the plant. The Minister accepted the view that once facilities had been closed, it is unrealistic to expect them to be recoverable, but did not act to prevent this outcome.
The BIS Committee has called on the Government to work with the steel industry, deliver on its ‘five asks’, and to put mechanisms in place to prevent similar damage in other key sectors.
“I wholeheartedly welcome the report of this cross-party committee which concludes exactly what we knew at the time. The government were asleep at the wheel.
They failed to act when SSI began getting into difficulty in Redcar, and when things were in real crisis they were more focused on trying to save face by bunging a bit of money at us to pick up the pieces, rather than doing the hard graft to save the site and this vital Teesside industry. We told them that European state aid rules were not a barrier, we came to them with solutions and interested companies, but they just did not want to deal with the problem. We know they should have mothballed the site, they know it too and now this committee report has proved it.
It is too late for Redcar steelworks but I hope they have learnt their lesson and will start to defend British industry and British workers.”
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